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  Decel Records  
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The life of an Online Fanzine Editor can be hard at times. You have record labels, bands, and promotional companies emailing you to ask where the latest review is, which can be annoying sometimes. And then you meet someone online who seems enthusiastic and really wants to write, so you send him some CDs (all the way to Manchester, UK in this instance), and then he decides he is too busy with schoolwork to really write anyway... Actually, we have had three writers take CDs and then decide not to write for us, but in this case the guy in Manchester was considerate enough to mail the unreviewed CDs back, a fact for which i am very grateful.

I offer this as an excuse for finally submitting a review of this CD, which we received back in 2004. You see, really, it spent most of last year in the UK, and i only just got it back. I am glad i did, because this is a solid, interesting record. Unfortunately, i have review notes from two periods separated by about 6 months, so if the rest of this review seems to jump around a bit, that is why.

Cinemasophia was, at the time of this recording, a one man project of Landis Wine. Previous releases by this gentleman were released under the name Josephine the Singer, and i do not know what prompted the name change. I also see on his website that Mr. Wine has fleshed the band out with a full lineup, a fact which would undoubtedly make these already interesting songs come across even better in concert. Anyway, the songs are mostly pretty strong, so let me discuss each briefly.

The album begins with Humming & Entropy (a great name, BTW). This tune starts off lo-fi with earnest vocals, but then, suddenly, the drums kick in, there is bass, and the guitar stomps on an overdrive pedal. It rocks along nicely in a manner reminiscent of Explosions in the Sky. Towards the end, it shifts again and becomes moody and quiet, almost like The Church, as a strange vocal sample plays over echoed guitar and jazzy drumming. A strange, but nice, song.

Coil + Chasm starts with a reverbing keyboard bit and subtle vocals. Eventually bass joins in accompanied by weird electronic sounds. This reminds of the recent work of Hood, and in general is pretty nice.

Water (Mouth) is the most generic tune here. It has a nice martial drum beat and some pleasant strummed guitars, but never really does anything for me.

However, the next track, Army Coats, is simply wonderful. Wine turns in his best guitarwork here, and it gets really noisy in the middle of the song while still maintaining a good sense of melody. I also like that the drumming sounds positively epileptic on the noisy choruses. A really epic tune, and very nice.

It's back to the Hood-style IDM rock on The Glass Parts. Weird clicking noises and some different (for him) singing drive the tune along. It's pretty catchy, but i still think that Hood do this type of stuff better.

A Partial Snow starts with an intense peal of distortion that lingers for a little while before fading into a pleasant little pop tune. This reminds me of the electro guitar pop of Tex La Homa, and gets really dubby in the middle with lots of echo on the drums. This is a good and eclectic tune.

For An starts off as a nice pop tune, then at the end gets extremely glitchy, as in the entire song is consumed by software noises... Not bad.

Finally, Mr. Wine ends the album with Oscintillatorium. This tune fades in with static and bleeping noise, then his voice comes in. He sounds raw here, exposed. It's almost painful to listen to, as if this song is really emotional for him. I also think that the really sparse backing music draws attention to the relative weakness of his voice. That is, Mr. Wine is not the worst singer i have heard, but i think that he needs some instrumentation to back him up. Anyway, eventually keyboard bloops join in, and one thinks this will become a catchy electro pop tune. One would be wrong, as he next starts playing jam rock guitar. This whole thing goes on for 13 minutes like this... I am sure that it seemed like a good idea when he was really stoned, but to be honest i get bored after just a few minutes and turn the album off.

Overall though, there are some very interesting things going on here. I am very glad that our would-be writer in Manchester mailed this CD back to me, as i think that its high points exceed its weaknesses. I would be really interested to hear what Cinemasophia becomes now that Mr. Wine has a band backing him up.

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